By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOPPO) director Police Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil yesterday said additional policemen will be deployed to Hinigaran town after nine cops requested for transfer in view of the conflict between Mayor Nadie Arceo and former town police chief Police Senior Inspector Lawrence Bathan.
“There will be additional policemen that will be assigned there… we cannot blame them,” Castil said in reference to the request for transfer of the nine policemen.
He added that it is the right of the policemen to ask for transfer while it is up to the PNP higher officials to either grant or deny such request.
Arceo earlier asked for Bathan’s relief from Hinigaran but it was not granted by both Castil and Police Regional Office-18 (PRO-18) director Police Chief Supt. Edmund Gonzales. The police officials cited there is no basis for the relief of Bathan.
Bathan was relieved from his post last week upon instructions directly from PNP Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa. He was replaced by Chief Inspector Jake Barila from PRO-18.
Meanwhile, Arceo questioned the transfer of the nine policemen, who volunteered to be reassigned to other police units.
He said the town police station is now undermanned with only 10 police personnel on duty.
Castil said he was able to convince majority of the policemen in Hinigaran to remain at their post except for the nine cops who are now assigned to Drug Enforcement Units and to police stations in other areas.
Castil assured local officials of Hinigaran that the request for deployment of new police personnel to the town has been submitted to the Regional Public Safety Battalion and classified as “priority”.
Bathan, whose services was tapped by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, and Mayor Arceo are at loggerheads over the anti-drug campaign in the town.
Arceo accused Bathan of removing the name of an alleged drug lord in Hinigaran in the drug watchlist without consulting him.
But Castil explained that the name of the alleged drug lord is no longer in the street level target, but already included in the list of high value target drug personalities.
The mayor also denied allegations that his active campaign against illegal drugs was only initiated recently./WDJ